[This is the headline over a report published today on the website of the Maltese newspaper The Times. It refers to the SNP's Christine Grahame who is, of course, a MSP not a MP. The article reads in part:]
A Scottish television documentary alleging the Lockerbie bomb was loaded in an unaccompanied luggage in Malta was “biased” and “deeply misleading”, Scottish MP Christine Grahame insists.
Ms Grahame, a Scottish National Party representative in the Scottish Parliament, wrote to STV’s chief executive officer Rob Woodward expressing concern at the allegations repeated in the documentary broadcast earlier this month.
She said Air Malta had won a significant out-of-court settlement against Granada TV in 1993 when the same “unfounded allegations” about the airline’s involvement in the Lockerbie story had been made.
The documentary claimed the bomb was loaded in Malta on an Air Malta flight to Frankfurt, something that has always been denied by the airline and the government.
The unaccompanied luggage then purportedly made its way to Heathrow where it eventually found its way onto Pan Am flight 103, which exploded over the Scottish village of Lockerbie killing 270 people in December 1988.
“There were a number of misleading statements made in the film but I think the most worrying from STV’s perspective will be the unfounded allegation that the baggage alleged to have carried the bomb was transported, unaccompanied, on an Air Malta flight,” Ms Grahame said.
She insisted Air Malta was able to prove that all 55 bags loaded onto the flight to Frankfurt were ascribed to passengers.
“To this day, not a single shred of evidence has ever been produced showing the bomb was on the Air Malta flight,” Ms Grahame said, insisting she was extremely disappointed with the way the STV documentary recounted the events surrounding the atrocity in “a one-sided and biased manner”.
Air Malta yesterday stood by its initial reaction last week, insisting it was following developments closely. An airline spokesman said the company had nothing to add when asked whether it had instructed its lawyers to initiate legal action against STV. (...)
Concerns over the Scottish documentary were also raised by the father of one of the victims, Jim Swire, who asked the broadcaster to apologise and correct the wrong impression given about Malta.
“I wrote to STV because, being a seeker of truth myself, I do not like to see lies promulgated in public. It simply isn’t true that the Lockerbie bomb was carried by Air Malta. Indeed, it is not true that the bomb started its awful journey from Malta at all,” Dr Swire said.
Dr Swire and other Lockerbie investigators developed a theory that the bomb was most probably introduced on the fatal flight through a break-in that occurred the night before the bombing at Heathrow airport allowing access for an untraced person to the baggage loading area for Pan Am and the facility allocated in those days to Iran Air.
“Why would a state terrorist choose to risk two changes of aircraft and set his timer so that the final plane only cleared Heathrow by 38 minutes when his digital timer would have allowed him to set it to go off over the mid-Atlantic? What a crazy plot,” the embittered father said of the prosecution’s theory that pinned the blame on Mr al-Megrahi, who, at the time, was a secret service agent for the Libyan government stationed in Malta with Libyan Arab Airlines.
“How much simpler to break into Heathrow and leave a case with the explosive device for the Iranians to put into a Pan Am container at the next available opportunity,” Dr Swire said, insisting Iran had the strongest motive to retaliate after an Iran Air Airbus was shot down six months earlier by a US warship in the Persian Gulf , killing all 290 passengers. According to the US government, the crew mistakenly identified the Iranian airliner as an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter.
“I did not want the viewers in Scotland to believe a fallacy of that magnitude, now re-broadcast by STV,” Dr Swire said of his Air Malta defence. (...)
Malta has always denied the bomb was loaded at Luqa airport.